Southern Utah hospitals maintain ‘A’ grades in safety

In a file photo, Ryan VanderWerff, the director of musculoskeletal, neurosurgery, and spine service lines for the entire Intermountain system, inspects one of the rooms Inside the Intermountain Southwest Ortho Urgent Care clinic at St. George Regional Hospital, St. George, Utah, Sept. 8, 2022 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Southern Utah’s largest hospitals continued to maintain straight “A” status in the latest national hospital safety grades.

A look outside St. George Regional Hospital, St. George, Utah, March 27, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

St. George Regional Hospital and Cedar City Hospital received an “A” grade from the biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades released earlier this month. Both hospitals have maintained the top grade since 2019.  

The consistent “A” safety record of the Southern Utah hospitals is being noticed by Katie Stewart, the director of health care ratings for the Leapfrog Group. 

“This takes a strong commitment to patient safety that starts with hospital leadership and impacts all care provided,” Stewart said in an email to St. George News. “‘A’ graded hospitals do a better job at keeping patients safe from preventable medical errors, injuries, and infections and have processes in place to prevent them.”

The individual safety report card for St. George Regional can be found at this link, while Cedar City’s can be accessed here. Smaller local hospitals like Garfield Memorial in Panguitch and Kane County Hospital in Panguitch aren’t included.

St. George Regional scores its highest marks compared to hospitals nationwide toward preventing infections from urinary catheters. One area the hospital does fall behind is foreign objects retained after surgery.

Cedar City scores its highest marks for staff responsiveness while ranking lower in entering medical orders electronically into a computer system as opposed to handwritten or verbally. 

Outside Cedar City Hospital, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 12, 2022 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News / Cedar City News

For the second straight time, Utah ranked first in the nation for the percentage of hospitals in a state with “A” grades and solidified that status compared to last fall. Utah had 57.7% of its hospitals with the top grade in spring 2024 compared to 51.9% last fall. 

Nationwide, Leapfrog said there were “significant” improvements in hospital safety since the last Safety Grades in the fall.

“Patient experience is very difficult to influence without delivering better care, so these findings are encouraging,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a statement. “We were also pleased to see the decrease in preventable infections, which cause terrible suffering and sometimes death.”

The nonprofit Leapfrog Group scores 3,000 hospitals around the nation on how they protect patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infection. A new “report card” is released in the spring and the fall. 

While St. George and Cedar City have been significant in the top grades, that doesn’t mean “A” grades are common.

Of the 27 Utah hospitals that receive grades, 15 received an “A.” Of the 13 Las Vegas-area hospitals to receive safety grades, one – Henderson Hospital – received an “A.” Among 95 in the Los Angeles area, 27 received an “A” while two received a failing grade.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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